Home News Belgian court ups sentence for EU official over rape

Belgian court ups sentence for EU official over rape

Published on October 08, 2021

A Belgian court has increased a sentence for a senior EU official found guilty of raping a junior colleague at work to six years in jail, lawyers said Friday.

The ruling issued in September toughened a four-year term handed out in 2019 — but the defendant remains free pending a final appeal, two lawyers connected to the case told AFP.

Estonian Margus Rahuoja, a director in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, was found guilty of raping his female colleague at a party on commission premises in 2015.

The official, 54, insisted that the victim had given her consent, but two sets of judges have dismissed his defence.

Cedric Vergauwen, a lawyer for the victim, said the Brussels court decided in September to increase the sentence after the appeal due to aggravating circumstances and the attitude of the defendant.

“He persisted in his denials, always speaking of a consensual relationship,” said the lawyer.

But the defendant remains at liberty after lodging a further appeal to Belgium’s highest court expected to make a ruling no sooner than next year, lawyers for both sides said.

Belgium’s La Libre newspaper, which first reported the increased sentence, said that Rahuoja has kept his salary of over 14,000 euros a month pending a final judgement, despite being formally suspended from work.

His lawyer did not comment on the claim.

Rahuoja is still listed as a “principal advisor” at the transport directorate-general in the EU’s “who is who” directory.